RB Michael Adkins II (Probable—concussion), RB Terrance Crowder (Out—suspended), RB Josh Ford (Out—ankle), FB Clay Jones (Questionable—neck), WR Jeff Thomas (Questionable—hamstring), TE Alex Wood (Questionable—concussion)
True freshman and Bellarmine Prep product Sefo Liufau supplanted Connor Wood as the Buffs' quarterback after Wood had a dreadful two-game stretch against Oregon State and Oregon in which he completed just 25 of 67 attempts (37 percent) for two touchdowns and four picks. (Mike MacIntyre was brought in to rebuild the program, and this move makes it clear that the Buffs are now in full-on rebuilding mode.) Liufau has at times looked the part of a freshman thrust unexpectedly into a starting role (see two interceptions against Arizona State, and a 53 percent completion rate against Arizona) but overall he's performed well, completing 64.9 percent of his passes for 657 yards and three touchdowns against just one pick in his last three outings.
At tailback, the Buffs offer a particularly tantalizing look at the future in true freshman Michael Adkins, who averages 5.7 yards per carry and has accounted for five of Colorado's eight rushing touchdowns. He sat out last week's game against UCLA after suffering a concussion against Arizona, so his health will be one aspect to keep an eye on in advance of this weekend's contest. Colorado's other primary rusher is Christian Powell, a 6-0, 235 lb. bruiser who last year was named a Freshman All American by collegefootballnews.com. Powell averages just 3.6 yards per carry this year after earning 4.4 in 2012, though, so it's possible that he's regressed a bit from his impressive debut.
Colorado's passing game may as well be called the Paul Richardson show. The only truly elite player that Colorado has on either side of the ball, Richardson is the rare type of player who could start at virtually any program in the country. Part of the reason that the Buffs fell on such hard times in 2012 was that Richardson sat out the entire season with a torn ACL; this year, the NFL prospect has stayed healthy while hauling in 57 catches for 984 yards and eight touchdowns. (Both rank second in the conference to OSU's Brandin Cooks, the prohibitive favorite to win this year's Biletnikoff Award as the nation's best wide receiver.)
Colorado's offensive line consists of physically impressive tackles (both LT Jack Harris and RT Stephane Nembot check in at 6-7 and nearly 300 lbs.), and they've achieved remarkable consistency in featuring the same starting five in each of their eight contests this season. And for all of Colorado's lack of success this year, they have given up just 13.0 sacks and 38.0 tackles for loss, both of which rank fourth in the conference.
As always, thanks to College Football Statistics, ESPN and USA Today's College Football Injury Report for the relevant data that went into this article. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking below.
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